Excerpts from their conversation, and Michael’s response to the story of Hero Vincent’s family’s struggles, and his assault at the protest by the NYPD. Thanks to alternet.org.
Moore: The majority of Americans are really upset at Wall St. You’ve got an army just waiting for somebody to do something, and the something has started.
September 28, 2011 |
MICHAEL MOORE: Whatever you do, don’t despair because this is the hard part. You are in the hard part right now.
CROWD: Whatever you do, don’t despair because this is the hard part. You are in the hard part right now.
MICHAEL MOORE: But, everyone will remember,
CROWD: But, everyone will remember,
MICHAEL MOORE: three months from now,
CROWD: three months from now,
MICHAEL MOORE: six months from now,
CROWD: six months from now,
MICHAEL MOORE: 100 years from now,
CROWD: 100 years from now,
MICHAEL MOORE: that you came down to this Plaza,
CROWD: that you came down to this Plaza,
MICHAEL MOORE: and you started this movement.
CROWD: and you started this movement.
. . . .
AMY GOODMAN: We’ve put out to the world that you’re coming in today. Of course, the questions came in on Facebook. When we posted the question on Facebook, “What you want to ask Michael Moore?”, Tausif Khan wrote, “What do you think is the next step the protesters need to take to get Washington and Wall Street to listen and to make real change?”
MICHAEL MOORE: They don’t need to worry about a next step. It’s already happening. This is something that has, sort of, sprung up. There’s no group, organized group, no dues-paying, members only organization behind this. This is literally an uprising of people who have had it. And It has already started to spread across the country in other cities. It will continue to spread. It has to start somewhere. It started here with a few hundred. It will grow, and really already has grown here to a few thousand. And will be tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands of people because, what I was in them other night, the great thing about what they are doing, and great in the sense that their work ahead is not as difficult as other movements in the past; when the Women’s Liberation Movement began, when people began protesting against the Vietnam War, civil-rights movement. At the beginning of those movements, the majority of the country was not with them, did not believe the basic principles of any of those philosophies. That’s not true right now. The majority of Americans are really upset at Wall Street. Millions of Americans have lost their homes or are facing foreclosure right now. Fifty Million do not have health insurance. Fourteen Million officially are unemployed, and it’s probably well up into the 20 million-plus people that are actually unemployed. So you’ve already got an army of Americans who are just waiting for somebody to do something, and the something has started.
AMY GOODMAN: And it is so interesting, if you had 2000 people, as the first weekend, whatever, 12 days ago, 2000 Tea Party activists down on Wall Street, you probably have double the number of reporters there. But, at the beginning of this, very little coverage. This is day 12. And, I wanted to talk about what happened this past weekend; the New York Police Department’s handling of the arrest of 80 protesters over the weekend that’s come under fire as a number of videos have emerged showing officers using heavy handed tactics to say the least. Protesters captured some of the attacks on video, including the arrest of a 21-year-old Bronx resident named, Hero Vincent. He was trying to calm the crowd and organize people to leave. This is a clip from after he was released from jail. [AK Note: clip missing.]
HERO VINCENT: That’s when the police charged at me, and just started, you know, swinging at me, and another policeman pushed me, and I’m backing up, and as I’m backing up I hit the barricade. And then I look at them and they come at me. I go over and then four policeman just started beating on me, yelling at me, “Stop resisting arrest,” while I’m just laying there, I’m not fighting back. They kick me in my stomach, knock the breath out me. Hit me with their baton. They put their knees into my face, not into my head, into my face, into the ground, and just laughing.
AMY GOODMAN: While other demonstrators were charged with blocking traffic and resisting arrest, Vincent faces the most serious charge of assaulting a police officer. The NYPD says they acted appropriately, but Vincent said he’s confident the videos of the attack will exonerate him and has vowed to continue to participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest.
HERO VINCENT: If there’s anything called the epitome of a struggle, me and my family lived it. We were foreclosed on. My father had trouble finding a job, still hasn’t found one. I had trouble finding a job, still haven’t found one. My sister is in college, the tuition is doubling. They’re trying to fight for her financial aid. We struggle with food. I even slept on a bench for a few nights before this occasion. So, I’m here for everybody in my family, not just myself, and everybody who goes through the same struggles, that I can empathize with.
AMY GOODMAN: Michael, your comments on Hero Vincent and all that are down there?
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, it’s highly ironic that now over 100 of the protesters have been arrested and not a single banker, a CEO from Wall Street, anyone from corporate America — nobody, not one arrest of any of these people who brought down the economy in 2008. Who created schemes, financial schemes that not only destroyed the economy, but took away the future of this generation, of this young man and his children in the future. They have completely ruined it for people while they have become filthy rich. Not one of them arrested, but 100 of these people who have stood up non-violently against this madness, and they’re arrested? This just boggles the mind. I want to say something, too, because, Amy, you’ve lived here, in this area, in the city for probably most of your life. I have been here for many years. By and large, the New York City cops are actually pretty good as police forces go. I can tell you from filming around the country, you know…
AMY GOODMAN: I think it depends where we live.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, this is what I was going to say; yes, what’s rough here, is that when you have the bad apples, they are really bad here, and it’s not just one or two. I think it’s very important, also, when you look at this videotape and the other video that was shot that day of the people—-especially the one individual who was pepper spraying women in their eyes when they were standing there doing nothing—-those were the white-shirted management types. They were not just the street officers. These were the guys that were supposed to be in charge of them. They were the ones going up there. It’s one thing if you’ve got a rogue cop behaving violently, but when you have management, when have the white shirts there of the NYPD doing this, that’s not rogue, that’s policy. That’s coming from somewhere else. They’ve been told by those in charge to corral this thing, end this thing, stop this thing. Somebody should inform them that everybody is a filmmaker now. Everybody has a camera. You cannot just treat people like this and get away with it, and I hope they don’t get away with it.